People's Climate March: Protecting Our Sacred World
When: Saturday, April 29th, from 11:00am-2:00pm
Where: Franklin Square Park
Address: Solar St. and Plum St., Syracuse, NY 13204
“For human beings…to destroy the biological diversity of God’s Creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human beings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its lands, its air, and its life—these are sins,” wrote Pope Francis his 181-page encyclical in 2015 as he urged the world to cut back on fossil fuels. On April 29th, the Climate Change Awareness and Action organization will echo this conviction with hundreds of other activists in Syracuse. The “People’s Climate March of CNY” will coincide with protests across the nation, including in Washington D.C., aimed at denouncing the environmental agenda of the new federal administration. The new administration denies the dangers of Climate Change, a phenomenon with unanimous consensus from over 2,500 scientists across 130 nations. This consensus points to the disastrous effects of Climate Change on our planet, and requires all those with moral aversions to poverty to halt it.
The World Bank estimates that upwards of 1.3 billion people currently live in extreme poverty around the world. This figure represents 17.3% of our world’s population, with these people earning less than $1.25 per day. The poorest of the world cannot meet even the most basic needs of food, safe drinking water, shelter, or hygienic sanitation. Education, or the dream of escape, is unobtainable for those who struggle to see each sunrise.
Yet, the United Nations estimates that the effects of Climate Change will push an additional 122 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
According to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN, and the United States Department of Agriculture, climate change personifies itself as increased drought and flood rates, shrinking glaciers and ice caps, rising sea levels, severe weather patterns, habitat and land degradation, desertification, and species extinction rates 1,000 times higher than those that have existed in nature for millennia. Desertification is particularly devastating in Sub-Saharan Africa regions, such as the Sahel, where approximately 485 million people stand to be affected. Starvation, loss of homes, and the collapse of local economies are the main impacts of desertification.
Through these myriad effects, climate change has shattered the delicate balance between humans and nature. Precise crop rotations and reliance on consistent weather patterns has left the world’s poorest regions vulnerable as carbon emissions climb into the foreseeable future. Altogether, climate change spells death for the world’s meek and destitute.
Although ACTS focuses on Syracuse, we must not renounce our interconnectedness with the world, and we cannot ignore the plight of our global brothers and sisters.
Climate Change has led directly to natural disasters and the rapid spread of diseases like malaria. One such natural disaster exacerbated by climate change was the Myanmar cyclone of 2008, which killed 85,000 people. The United States will have blood on its hands if we ignore the promises of the International 2015 Paris Accord, which challenges all nations to reduce carbon emissions and curb climate change. Despite the seriousness of the situation, the new federal administration has scoffed at the Accord, calling it a “bad deal for America.” Furthermore, top EPA officials in the new administration outright rejected the established science of climate change. These troubling political developments galvanize the “People’s Climate March of CNY.”
“The message they [the United States Federal Government] are sending to the rest of the world is that they don’t believe climate change is serious. It’s shocking to see such a degree of ignorance from the United States,” said Mario J. Molina, a Nobel-Prize winning scientist from Mexico who advises nations on climate change policy.
The federal administration vows to destroy the centerpieces of Obama’s environmental legacy, including evisceration of several smaller but impactful policies intended to research and mitigate climate change. The new administration’s EPA director, Scott Pruit, even plans to sabotage the department he has been appointed to. He devised measures to dismantle the Clean Power Act, which ceased the expansion of the coal industry in exchange for immense solar and wind farms. If the new administration is successful in this initiative, the dirtiest of all air pollutants will be resurrected while clean energy is neglected. Other EPA regulations next for extinction include those that prevent pollution of our country’s waterways with mercury and other harmful toxins. Lakes and rivers across the United States could follow the example of Onondaga Lake in the coming years. Perhaps our lake will finally shed the title of the second dirtiest in the world!
Scientists and policy advocates around the world are watching the new administration's environmental actions with deep worry. As ACTS is part of the world, these developments also concern us just as poignantly. Nearly all philosophies and religions of the world decry the corruption of earth’s beauty, and so should we. ACTS Members are encouraged to gather at Franklin Square Park to fight for our environment, as even social justice cannot exist without a habitable world.